With graduation and the end of the semester approaching, many students are preparing for their final exams as well as preparing for the summer.
But the IUP golf team has a little bit more business to handle. It was announced Friday that the Crimson Hawks will be back in action as they are the No. 3 seed for the 2016 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Regional Championships at the Timber Banks Golf Club in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
After placing first in the Atlantic Region a season ago, the Crimson Hawks shot 38-over 902 and finished second out of 10 teams at the tournament in Nashport, Ohio, advancing to their eighth consecutive NCAA tournament. The Crimson Hawks enter the tournament after winning two of their last three tournaments and are hungry to make it a ninth straight trip to the NCAA championship round.
As of Sunday, IUP was prepared to watch two seniors compete in their final regional outing, but Kenneth Sames (business) left the program Monday. Sames was the 2014-15 PSAC player of the year and holds three top 10 finishes this season. Last year at regionals, Sames finished in first place shooting 2-under 214.
Brett Geiser (management), the lone remaining senior, has maintained a steady season by having three top-10 finishes under his belt as well. Geiser is a leader for the Crimson Hawks and has remained a consistent force for the team. He believes that confidence will carry IUP through nationals.
“All in all,” Geiser said, “I think personally and the team as a whole has a lot of confidence right now. I truly believe that is the biggest thing we’re going to take away from the season heading into regionals.”
The Atlantic and East Region will compete together Monday through Wednesday, combining for 20 teams and eight individual players. The regional round is hosted by Le Moyne College. Regional tournaments will be paired as follows: Atlantic and East, Central and Midwest, South and Southeast, South Central and West.
The Crimson Hawks have placed either first or second in the Atlantic Regionals every year since 2007.
IUP last won the Atlantic Region in 2014 when the team shot an 11-over 863.
The top five teams and the top two student-athletes not with a team from each region will advance to the finals May 17 through 21 at Green Valley Ranch in Denver, Colo. The finals will be hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver.
The NCAA Tournament consists of an 80-team field with 32 student-athletes competing as individuals.
The Crimson Hawks finished in 13th place at last year’s NCAA Championships in Conover, N.C. Three current IUP golfers participated.